Sunday, November 11, 2012

Or do you just like yourself too much?

So this whole blogging thing has got me thinking. It's obvious I enjoy doing it - I've been on here incessantly over the last few days. But I started feeling a bit strange almost as soon as I came back to it. It was somehow making me feel self-conscious.

This is such a familiar feeling for me - I can't even come close to telling you how many times I've been crippled by insecurity in my daily life (particularly the kind caused by that cruel bitch embarrassment). So, the feeling was instantly recognizable. But it was of odd origin. And my usually level-headed mindset regarding the opinions of others started to wither. I started feeling sure that people were going to get the wrong idea about my intentions. And that they would find me arrogant.

I suppose I should explain. I have always been a bit of an odd duck when it comes to confidence. Can I get on a stage and sing in front of a crowd? Sure, you bet. Can I speak in front of a group? Absolutely. But I am not truly confident in a lot of things - I am especially sensitive to the thoughts of others about who I am. I worry when people don't like me. I get uptight thinking about strangers talking about me. I can be a real shrinking violet, kiddos. Also, a nut.

And from that small cross-section of my brain, an idea grew: Oh my God, when it comes to stroking your ego having a blog might be the ass-kissiest thing a person could do! People are going to think I'm in love with myself. I was instantly horrified.

I could vividly picture any number of my Facebook friends collectively rolling their eyes at my posts. I could hear them making snide remarks over their laptops to partners or friends about their "blogger" friend who's so up her own ass. Typically when I start in with this line of thinking I land here for a beat. You know, spend a few minutes in paranoia-land dreaming up all the awful things people could say. It's pretty dumb really.

Then I took a breath, calmed down a smidge and decided to use my old pal logic. (I know, a truly novel idea.) I thought down to the bare bones of my feelings. Where was all this crap coming from? What was I committing to with this blog? Was it more than I could or wanted to handle? And worst of all, was it some kind of narcissism?

Are you doing it for the right reasons, or do you just like yourself too much?

I decided that what was most important was determining what exactly I felt committing to a blog meant. So I thought about it and came to the conclusion that through attempting to blog I was inferring that I feel I have something of value to say or share. Easy enough.

But, come on. Did I really believe that? Was the viewpoint from my chair one that people would want to see? I immediately felt wrong about saying that it was. I just felt uncomfortable saying it. It did feel a tad arrogant.

Still I felt compelled to write. Still I wanted to share. There must be a way around this. How do all those other bloggers do it? I read lots of blogs and never find myself thinking this way about any of those writers. Why would I hold myself to a standard that I would never exercise on others in a similar situation? I wasn't being very fair.

Since I was probably blowing this whole thing out of proportion, I decided to call in reinforcements and shared my feelings with Ryan. As always, he was excellent for a confidence boost (because he thinks I'm super cool). And just as dependably, he brought something new to the table that I had not yet considered. He brought up the idea of blogger identities being less self-worship and more avatar. Of course the explanation he gave included the word "microcosm"so I'll spare you the rest of it - but, the avatar part really opened up the mindset I had fallen into using.

An avatar. Yeah, I could see how that fits - an extension of self into a foreign space. Really it felt like exactly the right word. Blogging is an odd beast because in many cases it is about sharing your personal life, interests, and work but it is not a mirror. The reader doesn't see everything we are. The blogger decides what to share. They determine what view you see into their world. They fix all the cameras and lights and let you in on the scenes they choose. Color them just so.

So it isn't really about arrogance or self-obsession. It's about creating a world to visit. It's about building a life in an artful manner. It's about creation.

And creating art (no matter how it might be reviewed) is something that interests me very much.

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